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Origins: Twelve Gates to the City

DigiTrad:
TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY


Related thread:
Chord Req: Oh What a Beautiful City (19)


Mary in Kentucky 17 Aug 00 - 10:16 PM
IvanB 17 Aug 00 - 11:46 PM
Mary in Kentucky 17 Aug 00 - 11:56 PM
Joe Offer 18 Aug 00 - 04:32 AM
Mary in Kentucky 18 Aug 00 - 07:15 AM
Bud Savoie 18 Aug 00 - 07:26 AM
Jacob B 18 Aug 00 - 02:58 PM
Bert 18 Aug 00 - 03:02 PM
MMario 18 Aug 00 - 03:05 PM
Bert 18 Aug 00 - 03:09 PM
wysiwyg 09 Jun 01 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,LIGHTNING 01 Mar 10 - 09:08 PM
GUEST,ST 29 Nov 14 - 03:43 AM
GUEST,Squeezer 29 Nov 14 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,Rahere 29 Nov 14 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,Squeezer 30 Nov 14 - 08:22 AM
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Subject: 12 Gates to the City/Wade in the Water
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 10:16 PM

Help again Joe! It appears that we have another medley instead of correct words in the DT again. I just don't know for sure.

Twelve Gates to the City, found here, appears to have the words to Wade in the Water when it says "who are those children dressed in red."

My copy of Twelve Gates to the City doesn't have those words.

For all out in cyberspace, I'm still trying to help MMario locate tunes for the DT, but even when I think I know a song, I'm finding many variations and mistakes. Any help is appreciated.

Mary


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Subject: RE: 12 Gates to the City/Wade in the Water
From: IvanB
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 11:46 PM

Mary, my copy of the song (in the Joan Baez Songbook) has words of the same import, but arranged to better fit the tune (I think). I suppose, if someone actually transcribed the words from a recording by the Rev. Gary Davis,that he might have done it that way, but I don't think those lyrics would fit the tune I know. Finding a definitive version of a spiritual can be difficult just because there WAS so much borrowing back and forth.


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Subject: RE: 12 Gates to the City/Wade in the Water
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 11:56 PM

My book, Something to Sing About! says it is a favorite (and chosen by) Reverend Gary Davis. I'll post the words after I hear a little more.


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Subject: RE: 12 Gates to the City/Wade in the Water
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 04:32 AM

Another song that used "dressed in red...dressed in white...etc." is "Go Tell It on the Mountain." I have songbooks that use the "dressed" verses for both "Wade in the Water" and "Twelve Gates." I'm sure we could find many other songs that use those words. In fact, I think we had a thread discussing that.
-Joe Offer-

Here is the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

Twelve Gates to the City

DESCRIPTION: Spiritual: "Oh, what a beautiful city/There's twelve gates to the city, halleluiah"; "Three gates in the east, three gates in the west/Three gates in the north, three gates in the south."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1929 (recording, Norfolk Jubilee Quartet)
KEYWORDS: nonballad religious
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Warren-Spirit, pp. 72-73, "Oh! What a Beautiful City" (1 text, 1 tune)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 81, "Twelve Gates to the City" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 349, "Twelve Gates to the City" (1 text)
DT, TWLVGATE

RECORDINGS:
Marian Anderson, "Oh! What a Beautiful City" (Victor 10-1040, 1943)
Blind Gary [Davis], "Twelve Gates to the City" (ARC 7-04-55, 1937; rec. 1935) (1992, on "Harlem Street Singer," Prestige Bluesville CD OBCCD-547-2(BV-1015); recorded 1960))
Blind Boy Fuller w. Sonny Terry, "Twelve Gates to the City" (Vocalion 05465, 1940)
Galilee Singers, "What a Beautiful City" (Decca 7765, 1940)
Norfolk Jubilee Quartet, "Oh What a Beautiful City" (Paramount 12929, 1930; rec. 1929)
Pete Seeger & Sonny Terry, "Twelve Gates to the City" (on SeegerTerry)
Pete Seeger, "Beautiful City" (on PeteSeeger18)); "Twelve Gates to the City" (on PeteSeeger42); "Oh, What a Beautiful City [Twelve Gates to the City]" (on PeteSeeger47)
Sonny Terry [pseud., Saunders Terrell], "Beautiful City" (on Terry01)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Tell My Mother" (floating lyrics)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Oh, What a Beautiful City
NOTES: I know there are earlier recordings of this piece (it was a showpiece for Rev. Gary Davis), and probably earlier printed citations too, but I haven't found them yet. - PJS
The image of the heavenly city may possibly be derived from Chapter 21 of the Apocalypse, which mentions "the holy city, the new Jerusalem" (21:2), but the twelve gates of the city, three on each side, although mentioned in 21:3, are ultimately taken from Ezekiel 48:30-34. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: PSAFB081

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


And the Digital Tradition lyrics:

TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY

cho: Oh, what a beautiful city.
Oh, what a beautiful city
Oh, what a beautiful city
Twelve gates to the city, Hallelujah
Three gates in the east,
Three gates in the west,
Three gates in the north
Three gates in the south
There's twelve gates to the city, Hallelujah.

Who are those children dressed in red?
There's twelve gates to the city, Hallelujah
Must be the children that Moses led
There's twelve gates to the city, Hallelujah

My God done just what He said
He healed the sick and He raised the dead.
When I get to heaven gonna sing and shout
Ain't nobody there gonna put me out.

Recorded by Gary Davis
@religion @spiritual
filename[ TWLVGATE
TUNE FILE: TWLVGATE
CLICK TO PLAY
RG




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Subject: RE: 12 Gates to the City/Wade in the Water
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 07:15 AM

Thanks Joe, I saw the threads on Go Tell It On the Mountain and Wade in the Water. It seems that even printed versions of these spirituals have a lot of borrowing back and forth.

Here's my version of Twelve Gates to the City which also goes with the midi I sequenced:

TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY

chorus:
Oh, what a beautiful city!
Oh, what a beautiful city!
Oh, what a beautiful city!
Twelve gates to the city, hallelujah!

Three gates in the east,
Three gates in the west,
Three gates in the north,
Three gates in the south
Making it
Twelve gates to the city, hallelujah!

My Lord built that city,
He said it was four square;
He said He wanted you sinners
To meet Him in the air,
'Cause He built
Twelve gates to the city, hallelujah!

from Something to Sing About!
MT


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Subject: RE: 12 Gates to the City/Wade in the Water
From: Bud Savoie
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 07:26 AM

The "children dressed in red" verse is a floater and works with innumerable other Gospel tunes like "Walk in Jerusalem Just Like John," "Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep," and "I'm Gettin' Ready to Put on my Long White Robe."


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Subject: RE: 12 Gates to the City/Wade in the Water
From: Jacob B
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 02:58 PM

Makes you wonder what other songs those lyrics might fit to. How about:

Who's that yonder dressed in red
Must be the children that Moses led
Honey, let me be your salty dog

*BG*


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Subject: RE: 12 Gates to the City/Wade in the Water
From: Bert
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 03:02 PM

Mary, I hope you never get around to defining the difference between a variation and a mistake. I'd never be able to sing again;-)


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Subject: RE: 12 Gates to the City/Wade in the Water
From: MMario
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 03:05 PM

a variation is "See them children dressed in red" versus "See Those children dressed in red"

a mistake is "See them children dressed in dre"


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Subject: RE: 12 Gates to the City/Wade in the Water
From: Bert
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 03:09 PM

But I ALWAYS sing 'Dressed in dre'


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Subject: Lyr Add: TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY (Trinity Version
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Jun 01 - 03:54 PM

We're closing tonight's service with it, a capella, this way:

TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY
(Trinity Version)
Rev. Gary Davis, edited and additional verses by Susan O. Hinton

CHORUS Oh, what a beautiful city;
Oh, what a beautiful city
Oh, what a beautiful city;
Twelve gates to the city!

There's three gates to the East
And there's three gates to the West.
Three more gates to the North and the South
So you take you the gate that's best...
You get twelve gates to the city, hallelujah!

Three doors in from the sunrise
Three ways into the feast.
Three ways into the heavenly home
If you're comin' in from the east.
But there's twelve gates to the city, hallelujah!

Three doors in from the sunset
Three ways to your rest
Three ways into the heavenly home
If you're comin' in from the west.
But there's twelve gates to the city, hallelujah!

Three doors in from the cold, cold wind
Three ways to warm your heart.
Three ways into the heavenly home
If it's from the north you start.
But there's twelve gates to the city, hallelujah!

Three doors in from the sunshine
Three ways, there's no doubt.
Three ways into the heavenly home
If you're comin' up from the south.
But there's twelve gates to the city, hallelujah!

If you see our friends and loved ones
Won't you please tell them for me,
"Get your wings from Jesus and meet us
By the shores of Galilee.
And there's twelve gates to the city, hallelujah!"

SH


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: God Specializes (Have you any rivers}
From: GUEST,LIGHTNING
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 09:08 PM

I AM LOOKING FOR THE ARTIST WHO SINGS A GOSPEL SONG CALLED 12 GATES, AND WHERE ARE THE LYRICS?
LIGHTNING


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Subject: RE: 12 Gates to the City
From: GUEST,ST
Date: 29 Nov 14 - 03:43 AM

Mary in Kentucky,

I sing a version similar to yours with the second verse saying,

When I get to the heaven
I'm gonna sing and shout.
There ain't nobody there
Who's gonna put me out.
And you know,
Twelve gates into the city, o halleloo!


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Subject: RE: 12 Gates to the City
From: GUEST,Squeezer
Date: 29 Nov 14 - 05:05 PM

The Pete Seegar lyrics website names Marion Hicks as the author. Anyone know anything about her?


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Subject: RE: 12 Gates to the City
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 29 Nov 14 - 05:59 PM

I'd be interested to see if that's possibly a really old one, as I can see Arab and mediaeval European horoscopy described in it. Unlike modern circular casting, the older ones were square, as described here - they changed in the 17th century, and it's possible something hung on in the US. Or it could just be coincidence...


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Subject: RE: 12 Gates to the City
From: GUEST,Squeezer
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 08:22 AM

Co-incidence. The 12 gates are the 12 tribes of Israel, a metaphor found several times in the bible apparently.


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